Cayuga Indian Nation Demolition Event and Conflict

On August 3rd, 2022, at about 5:58 PM Seneca County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to 2778 County Road 124, in the Town of Varick for a complaint of suspicious activity. It was discovered that the Cayuga Indian Nation Police under the direction of Clint Halftown were on the scene of property and a house located at 2906 County Road 124. These premises are owned by the Cayuga Indian Nation. The Nation Police produced a copy of a demolition order issued by the Nation zoning and code enforcement officer.  

Deputies and State Troopers at the scene observed a conflict in progress between the CIN Police and a group of individuals who oppose Clint Halftown as the leader of the CIN when they arrived. It appeared to be escalating.

As in past conflicts Officers assumed a neutral stand and did not take sides with the opposing factions. -Both factions challenge the legitimacy of each other although the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs has recognized Clint Halftown as the federally recognized leader of the Cayuga Nation. The faction opposing Halftown—(sometimes called the traditionalists) have also challenged the legitimacy of the existing CIN Police. The United States Department of the Interior has advised Seneca County Police Agencies  that the CIN has the right to form their police department and have jurisdiction on Nation owned property.

County Road 124 was shut down between Route 89 and Kings Corners Road for all but local traffic during the event for about 2 hours. Officers maintained a foot patrol presence on CR 124 during the event to keep the peace and keep local residents safe. An ambulance was staged near the scene and responded to check persons exposed to pepper spray that was deployed by the CIN Police during the event. At the time of this release no personal injuries have been reported to the Sheriff’s Office. No Officers were injured during the event.

Two buildings: a house and a barn, were demolished at the location involved.

Sheriff Luce continues to urge the opposing Cayuga Nation factions to find common ground and put an end to the conflicts. The Sheriff is offering a safe and neutral location at the Sheriff’s Office for representatives from both groups to meet if they so desire.

Anyone who requires humanitarian aid or is displaced because of this event can contact Commissioner Tracy Vanvleck at 315-539-1830 and appropriate aid will be provided.